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Quique Setien on Barcelona's Valencia Loss: 'Reality Is That We Were Not Good'

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 26, 2020

VALENCIA, SPAIN - JANUARY 25: Quique Setien, Manager of Barcelona looks on prior to the La Liga match between Valencia CF and FC Barcelona at Estadio Mestalla on January 25, 2020 in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images)
Eric Alonso/Getty Images

Barcelona manager Quique Setien made no excuses for his team's performance in the 2-0 loss to Valencia in La Liga on Saturday.

It was the first time the Blaugrana were beaten under their new manager, with two second-half goals from Maxi Gomez enough for Los Che to earn a memorable victory.

Barcelona were nowhere near their fluid best at the Mestalla, and when chances were created, they were profligate. After the match, Setien said he was unhappy with some aspects of the display, although said he was unable to fault the application of his players, per Marca (h/t Football Espana):

"The reality is that we were not good. We did not perform well, particularly in the first half.

"We were unable to take our chances to score, and we were unable to find a way through Valencia. They have taken their chances well, and that has decided the game. They have taken their chances well, and that has decided the game."

Per Juan Jimenez of AS, the new manager added "there were things that [were] certainly picked up on today or badly interpreted."

Here are the highlights from the match at the Mestalla, as Barcelona opened the door for rivals Real Madrid to edge ahead in the La Liga title race:

As Squawka Football highlighted, even Lionel Messi was unable to find a way through despite taking a great number of shots:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Lionel Messi had 11 shots against Valencia today; more than every other Barcelona player combined (3). Unable to break through Valencia. https://t.co/64yQaqk6Lr

Going into the weekend's games, the Catalan giants and their great rivals were level on points at the summit of the La Liga table. Real Madrid can move into the outright lead with any positive result against Real Valladolid on Sunday.

Barcelona's display on Saturday suggested it will be difficult for them to retain their La Liga crown this season, as there are a number of issues that Setien needs to resolve.

Spanish football writer Rik Sharma believes the new head coach has a grasp on how big a job he faces:

Rik Sharma @riksharma_

In Setien's favour, he does understand that what Barcelona are doing isn't close to sufficient. Not blaming the refs etc. Says the players don't understand/he hasn't been able to explain what he wants of them yet

Writer Dermot Corrigan commented on the conviction with which the Barcelona boss spoke of his footballing principles too:

Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan

Setien really does talk like a true believer - he's convinced he knows best thing for his players to do. Gonna be interesting to see how big Barca names take to such instruction.

Former Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde moved away from the club's ethos, instilled by the likes of Johan Cruyff and Pep Guardiola. Setien is of the same school of thought as the latter duo and, as such, will no doubt receive patience.

What is certain is that the new manager must find a way of getting this team to thrive, irrespective of whether Messi is at his imperious best. Failing that, it's tough to see Barcelona winning La Liga or the UEFA Champions League this season.

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